Hang in there until the finish…
Hang in there until the finish…
Mr. Pacino, 74, is playing Simon Axler in The Humbling. Axler is an aging actor whose memory and stamina are failing him. He fears his opportunities are drying up and audiences no longer recognize him.
Q: “The Humbling” deals with a character who is despairing because he’s growing older and believes he’s no longer proficient at the things that defined him. Are these feelings you’ve experienced yourselves?
Al Pacino: Oh, yeah. What film is this again? [Laughter] There are professions where there are certain tools you depend on. With the actor it’s the memory, and also it’s the stamina. You can’t coast in some of these Shakespearean roles. They’re uncoastable. You can imagine the kind of panic that sets in when you realize you can’t get through this.
Q: Is a crisis of confidence like the one your character experiences unimaginable to you?
Notes: SMWI* = Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration. Image Credit – Your Eyes Blaze Out
Our first major snowfall arrived overnight.
…soon will the winter be on us, snow-hushed and heavy. (Sara Teasdale)
…suppose we did our work like the snow, quietly, quietly, leaving nothing out. (Wendell Berry)
…The country seems bigger, for you can see through the bare trees. There are times when the woods is absolutely still and quiet. The house holds warmth. A wet snow comes in the night and covers the ground and clings to the trees, making the whole world white. For a while in the morning the world is perfect and beautiful. You think you will never forget… (Wendell Berry)
The spintop wobbles after a dizzying week. It spins, the revolutions breathless. It turns, slower now, spinning on wisps of the remaining adrenaline.
He’s got it half right. It is the steady pounding of days that is our undoing.
I’ve seen what’s to come—
it is the days,
the steady pounding of days,
like gentle rain,
that will be our undoing.
— John Philip Johnson, from “There Have Come Soft Rains,” Rattle (No. 45)
And it’s Yoko Ono’s memories of the Summer of 1961 that beckon. “Stand in the evening light until you become transparent or until you fall asleep.”
Let it go.
Evaporate into the night.
Bring on the grace of Saturday morning.
Q: “The use of music is to remind us how short a time we have a body.” What do you mean by that?
RP: You start the song, it has a pulse, three-quarter time, one hundred and twenty beats per minute, and you know, even as you round the corner of the first verse, that it’s only going to last for four and a half minutes. All you can do is keep moving to it. When the beat stops, you are aware of having had that beat moving through you, and moving you, and you are aware of the ephemerality of your own existence, the fragility of your own body, the fact that your body is already becoming something else.
~ Richard Powers, In an Interview in The Paris Review
And, this tune, for me, does exactly that…
↓ click for audio (Max Richter– “Luminous”)
Credit: Photograph – Daniel Lehenbauer
Source: themetapicture.com (Thanks Susan)
The child is riding her bicycle up the hill. I stand and look around; the thick summer foliage blocks the road from view. I turn back toward the river and hear the playing cards slap in the spokes. They click and slap slowly, for the hill is steep. Now the pushing grows suddenly easier, evidently; the cards click and slap. At once, imperceptibly, she starts down. The pace increases. The cards are slapping and she is rolling; the pace speeds up, she is rolling, and the cards are slapping so fast the sounds blur. And so she whirs down the hill. I can see her through the woods downstream where the road evens out. She is fine, still coasting, and leaning way back.
~ Annie Dillard, “Aces and Eights.” Teaching a Stone to Talk.
Who knew Caleb was a comedian?
Take your time getting dressed this morning;
read a book,
make yourself some breakfast.
The world can wait.
The winter will fly swiftly,
then will be the spring —
think of nothing but hope —
heed nothing but anticipation…
– Emily Dickinson, in a letter to Austin Dickinson, November 16, 1851
“I (Dr. Bob Flaherty) was involved with starting the medical clinic about 15 years ago to provide health care for Bozeman’s low-income individuals and families. It keeps a lot of people out of the ER and the hospital. Angels work there…
It is already below zero outside the converted machinery-rental shop that serves as Bozeman’s Warming Center for the homeless. A local nonprofit…opened the center a few years ago after a homeless man froze to death in a U-Haul truck…
I come to the center Wednesday evenings after seeing my last office patient. It is the practice of medicine at a basic level: I’m here to clean ears, trim toenails, drain abscesses, listen to worries and give advice; to fix small but important problems that will allow the people here to survive on the edge of society for another day or week. I bring a large toolbox with basic medical instruments and several over-the-counter medications…
Jerry thinks he’s going deaf; my otoscope reveals both ears packed with wax. Tiffany and I irrigate his ears with my portable kit. Success and gratitude…
…I don’t ask, but with familiarity and trust bits of their history bubble up. Divorce, lost jobs, disappearing husbands or wives, alcohol, drugs, mental illness. These homeless are often different from the homeless you read about in the New Yorker or hear about on NPR. Certainly, many have hit hard times, but just as many prefer to live off the grid. They want most of all to be left alone. They are not poster children for political assumptions.
My assistant, Tiffany, will soon enter the world of 21st-century medicine: electronic health records, quality metrics, diagnostic and treatment codes, performance-based reimbursement, insurance exchanges. Medicine as process where the patient can easily get lost. But on this cold evening she has seen a doctor helping one patient at a time, doing small things that can make a big difference. In perhaps one of the few places left in America to practice simple care and simple caring.’
Read the entire opinion piece by Dr. Flaherty here: Diagnosing the Many Routes to Homelessness
Image Credit: Oakridgenow.com
Source: precious things
opia – n. the ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye, which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable–their pupils glittering, bottomless and opaque–as if you were peering through a hole in the door of a house, able to tell that there’s someone standing there, but unable to tell if you’re looking in or looking out.
“By embarking on the spiritual path, an aspirant is attempting to encounter silence firsthand. This is the quintessential journey in life–the inner sojourn. It is returning to a source long ago forgotten but often glimpsed at moment unawares. Recapturing that which flitters on the periphery of awareness is the goal of the mystic. …The mystic consciously dives into silence, at first unfelt. With repeated practice it becomes a living, palpable Presence filled with immeasurable vitality and boundless, nondual continuity. But what causes this gradual revelation?
First we need to discover why we do not experience silence. The simplest answer is that we are habituated to noise. We are addicted to novelty, sensation, to ourselves. Fuss and commotion, mental chattering, and outer stimulation occupy our minds from dawn to dusk. The twentieth-century Japanese Zen master Nan-in rightly noted that we are overflowing with our own ideas and opinions; to learn Zen we must first empty our minds. But there is no room for such emptiness. When one is clattering away on a keyboard sixteen hours every day, the capacious pockets of silence are kept well at bay. We thereby deafen ourselves to the underlying silence we would otherwise clearly hear.
By intentionally quieting our restless minds and calling a temporary halt to the random noise–inner and outer–to which we are subject, we create an environment conducive to the manifestations of silence. Welling up from within, this silence subtly engulfs us, drowning out all the noise of existence. The Jewish mystics refer to God as “ayin,” nothingness. When we quell the somethingness of our lives, this nothingness emerges. But as long as we dwell in the realm of substance, it remains elusive.”
–John Roger Barrie, in Parabola Magazine: “Silence.”
Stick with this short film until the end. If you are having a difficult time getting motivated this morning, think of Dave Jacka.
“I was this 20 year old guy…it was like any other day…one night I went out on my motor bike and I took a corner too fast and too late…head first into the tree…next thing I knew I was lying beside the bike, and I couldn’t move and I couldn’t breathe, and I felt as if i was suffocating…I was 6’ 3” and bulletproof and I could do anything physically…It suddenly dawned on me I couldn’t do anything…I have 6% of my physical body working. I can’t move anything from my armpits down…and suddenly my mom, dad and my sisters have to put me to bed at night. If I had one wish, I just wished I could get myself out of this chair…and have a fraction of independence…”
Be sure to watch the rest of the story.
*SMWI = Saturday Morning Work-out Inspiration
He headed for the school still wrapped in the warmth of this bed, the taste of cereal in his mouth, tightly holding the hand just above his head, walking as quickly as he could, taking two steps for his mother’s one, his little knapsack bouncing on his back, then came the school door, the rapid kiss goodbye, the asphalt playground with its rows of maples, the clanging bell . . . at first he took shelter from the rain under the overhang, then he joined the schoolyard games, but a few minutes later they all found themselves sitting behind Lilliputian desks, quiet and no moving around, all the body’s movements concentrated on the effort of moving the pencil down this low-ceilinged corridor called the line. Tongue stuck out, fingers numb and wrist stiff . . . little bridges, circles, tails, sticks, more little bridges … he is miles from his mother now, lost in this strange solitude called effort, in the company of all those other solitudes with their tongues stuck out . . . and now the first letters are assembled . . . lines of “a’s,” lines of “m’s,” of “q’s” (the “q” is no joke with its diving, backwards tail, but it’s a piece of cake compared to the “s” with its treacherous curves, and the “k” with its spray of lines shooting out every which way), all the difficult ones conquering so that, little by little, as if they were magnetized, the letters come together spontaneously into syllables, lines of mom and dad, and the syllables making words . . . Then, one day, his ears still humming from the commotion of the lunchroom, he contemplated the silent flowering of the word of white paper, there, before his eyes: mommy.
In a voice that quavered at first, he stumbled over the two syllables, separately. “Mom-my.” Then, suddenly, he understood. “Mommy!”… Little bridges, circles and slanting sticks . . . and you could say “Mommy!” There it was, written, right there, and he had done it! Not a combination of syllables, not a word or concept anymore. It wasn’t any mother, it was his mother, a magical transformation, infinitely more eloquent than the most faithful photographic likeness, built from nothing but circles and sticks and bridges, that have now suddenly – and forever! – become more than scratches on paper. They have become her presence, her voice, the good way she smelled in the morning, her lap, that infinity of details, that wholeness, so intimately absolute, and so absolutely foreign as to what is written there, on the rails of the page, within the four walls of the classroom.
Lead into gold.
He had just turned lead into gold.
~ Daniel Pennac, Better Than Life
Source: themetapicture.com (Thanks Susan)
(and maybe warm socks and vanilla ice cream)
Source: Just Saying
“Brussels-based photographer Jeffrey Vanhoutte created this stunning project featuring an acrobatic dancer displaying various expressive poses that seem to be frozen in time. The dancer throws clouds of powdered milk up in the air while fulfilling graceful and fluid movements. Jeffrey Vanhoutte captured them in film and photo though as he states it took even longer too clean up the mess than to actually create the images.”
Don’t miss more shots in this series here: Dancer Freezes Time in Jeffrey Vanhoutte’s Project
Caleb is in Abu Dhabi this week racing. That’s him in second place closing in on the lead.
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Not long after sunrise one recent morning, a camel race here began, as they all do, with two starts. First, there was the expected opening: About a dozen camels pressed their noses against a dangling metal barrier, and when a man in a sparkling white robe gave the signal, the gate lifted and the herd surged forward, necks bobbing and humps hopping as spindly legs galloped off into the fog.
~ Read More on camel racing here: NY Times – Sprinting Over the Dirt, With a Robot on the Hump
Notes: Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again
Q: There was a strong, negative reaction after you won your Oscar. In a recent interview for Elle U.K., you said, “As with anything difficult, eventually its purpose revealed itself, and I found it ultimately very liberating.” What was its purpose?
AH: Self-acceptance. If you’re not someone who has a natural and effortless love for yourself, it’s hard to let go of your desire to please other people, and that’s really not an ingredient for a happy life.
~ Anne Hathaway, Anne Hathaway’s Oscars Advice: ‘Do The Opposite of What I Did’
every now and again,
you will feel a dull ache in your soul.
a gentle humming around your heart.
a longing for something without a name.
if i ever told you to obey anything,
this would be it.
listen to the call of your authentic self.
that part of you that lives just outside of your own skin.
let it have its way with you.
i have died a hundred times trying to ignore it.
~ Mia Hollow
Share Inspired by Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek:
“We bump against another mystery: the inrush of power and light, the canary that sings on the skull. Unless all ages and races of men have been deluded by the same mass hypnotist (who?), there seems to be such a thing as beauty, a grace wholly gratuitous…”
“We bump against another mystery: the inrush of power and light, the canary that sings on the skull. Unless all ages and races of men have been deluded by the same mass hypnotist (who?), there seems to be such a thing as beauty, a grace wholly gratuitous. About five years ago I saw a mockingbird make a straight vertical descent from the roof gutter of a four-story building. It was an act as careless and spontaneous as the curl of a stem or the kindling of a star. The mockingbird took a single step into the air and dropped. His wings were still folded against his sides as though he were singing from a limb and not falling, accelerating thirty-two feet per second per second, through empty air. Just a breath before he would have been dashed to the ground, he unfurled his wings with exact, deliberate care, revealing the broad bars of white, spread his elegant, white-banded tail, and so floated onto the grass. I had just rounded a corner when his insouciant step caught my eye; there was no one else in sight. The fact of his free fall was like the old philosophical conundrum about the tree that falls in the forest. The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there…
We don’t know what’s going on here. If these tremendous events are random combinations of matter run amok, the yield of millions of monkeys at millions of typewriters, then what is it in us, hammered out of those same typewriters, that they ignite? We don’t know. Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery, like the idle, curved tunnels of leaf miners on the face of a leaf. [Read more…]
I also do not like those who consider everything good and this world the best. Such people I call the omni-satisfied. Omni-satisfaction, which knows how to taste everything, that is not the best taste. I honor the recalcitrant choosy tongues and stomachs, which have learned to say “I” and “yes” and “no.” But to chew and digest everything—that is truly the swine’s manner. Always to bray Yea-Yuh—that only the ass has learned, and whoever is of his spirit.”
- Friedrich Nietzsche, from Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Source: Stronger Than Yesterday
I had just figured out, rather naïvely, that I could buy my own books, and then almost instantly I became a prig about their condition, so much so that I wouldn’t lend them to anyone, at least not without a solemn lecture about their proper handling: no breaking the spines, no dog-earing the pages, no greasy thumbprints. At home, I had my own somewhat wobbly arrangement of brick-and-board shelves, two and then three tiers of ugly pressboard, painted brown and laddered up against the wall, my first piece of furniture. In private, I thought of those shelves with enormous pride, as something I was building, book by book, and brick by brick, and I often looked at them, vaguely satisfied, like a worker inspecting the progress of a job. I wanted the shelves to rise up and reach the ceiling, and for that to happen, all I had to do, I realized, was read.
~ Charles D’Ambrosio, Loitering: New and Collected Essays
and if you appreciated this, check out another passage from his new book below: [Read more…]
Source: Shoebill from Head Like An Orange
I was catching on to sea lions. Walk into the water. Instantly sea lions surround you, even if none has been in sight. To say that they come to play with you is not especially anthropomorphic. Animals play. The bull sea lions are off patrolling their territorial shores; these are the cows and young, which range freely. A five-foot sea lion peers intently into your face, then urges her muzzle gently against your underwater mask and searches your eyes without blinking. Next she rolls upside down and slides along the length of your floating body, rolls again, and casts a long glance back at your eyes. You are, I believe, supposed to follow, and think up something clever in return. You can play games with sea lions in the water using shells or bits of leaf, if you are willing. You can spin on your vertical axis and a sea lion will swim circles around you, keeping her face always six inches from yours, as though she were tethered. You can make a game of touching their back flippers, say, and the sea lions will understand at once; somersaulting conveniently before your clumsy hands, they will give you an excellent field of back flippers. And when you leave the water, they follow. They don’t want you to go. They porpoise to the shore, popping their heads up when they lose you and casting about, then speeding to your side and emitting a choked series of vocal notes. If you won’t relent, they disappear, barking; but if you sit on the beach with so much as a foot in the water, two or three will station with you, floating on their backs and saying, Urr.
~ Annie Dillard, “Life on the Rocks: The Galapagos.” Teaching a Stone to Talk.
It’s 5:45 am.
It started tracking me yesterday morning.
I’m driving to work. Dark is lifting to dusk.
I’m returning to the office after an extended vacation.
My head is tumbling with To-Do’s.
I round the corner for the last 1/2 mile stretch and there it was.
Full. Bright. Beaming. Silent.
I stare, and enter a few second refuge before pulling into the garage.
It’s 6:40 pm.
I’m done with my first day back, of meetings back to back.
I’m in my re-entry. Decompression? Gone.
I accelerate down the exit ramp and there it is.
Full. Bright. Beaming. Silent.
It’s tracking me the entire ride home up I-95 N.
And gracefully nudging me from exhaustion, to fatigue and softly settling me into calm.
Yes, Mr. Kooser.
I have missed so many. The count is well into the thousands.
But, no Sir. No Sir.
I didn’t miss this one.
Lesley Stahl: I know a psychiatrist who says the most important question she asks somebody is, “When you were growing up, who loved you?” Do you have an answer?
Matthew Burke: That’s very difficult to answer– who loved me– because there’s different types of love.
Lesley Stahl: Uncondition. I mean–
Matthew Burke: Yeah, unconditional–
Lesley Stahl: That’s what I mean.
Matthew Burke: I’ve never– I’ve never experienced that.
Lesley Stahl: So you– you have no answer for that question.
Matthew Burke: I have no answer. To this day I have no answer to that.
~ Lesley Stahl, Alive and Kickin’, 60 Minutes
If you missed last night’s episode of 60 Minutes, you can find it here at CBS: Alive and Kickin’. There are many great human interest stories in this segment but I was particularly moved by Matthew Burke’s story (which comes on at 11 min 45 sec of this video). He was abandoned two and half weeks after birth in a hallway. Mother and Father unknown.
Memories are cloudy. It was a ritual that was conducted on Saturday afternoons or Sunday mornings. It was cold and wet. Cabin Fever had set in. Mom and the Kids needed to get out. Our first stop was Barnes and Noble. Rachel, in her pink galoshes, wandered the aisles in search of the prettiest book covers she could find. She would unzip her down jacket and sit on a Lilliputian bench flipping the pages. Eric would be tugging on his Mom’s coat, impatient, and ready to move on. After negotiating with Rachel that she could only have two, we would head off to lunch, which would include a sandwich or burger, french fries and steamy hot chocolate.
Ah, yes. The good ole’ pre-internet, pre-Amazon days. Who visits book stores today? What book stores carry large inventory? Who’s got time to read to their children? Do children have the patience or interest to sit quietly with a book? The Tech candy is flashing and twitching, coaxing them over. ME. ME. ME. Forget the boring books. Pick ME up.
That evening after we returned from the bookstore, and during weekday evenings that followed, we would read bedtime stories to our children. This parental ritual is beautifully captured by Daniel Pennac below in his reflections:
“(noun) Defined as an overwhelming desire to stay in bed, clinomania is at its peak during chilly, autumn and snowy days, as well as during the peaceful, rainy afternoons of summer. Chances are when clinomania strikes, your only wish is to stay in bed, rest, and catch up on your favorite tv series and go on a Netflix binge! Many of us who experience clinomania usually find it difficult to get up in the mornings. We look forward to the weekends and despise Monday mornings.”
What’s the kindest thing you almost did? Is your fear of insomnia stronger than your fear of what awoke you? Are bonsai cruel? Do you love what you love, or just the feeling? Your earliest memories: do you look though your young eyes, or look at your young self? Which feels worse: to know that there are people who do more with less talent, or that there are people with more talent? Do you walk on moving walkways? Should it make any difference that you knew it was wrong as you were doing it? Would you trade actual intelligence for the perception of being smarter? Why does it bother you when someone at the next table is having a conversation on a cell phone? How many years of your life would you trade for the greatest month of your life? What would you tell your father, if it were possible? Which is changing faster, your body, or your mind? Is it cruel to tell an old person his prognosis? Are you in any way angry at your phone? When you pass a storefront, do you look at what’s inside, look at your reflection, or neither? Is there anything you would die for if no one could ever know you died for it? If you could be assured that money wouldn’t make you any small bit happier, would you still want more money? What has been irrevocably spoiled for you? If your deepest secret became public, would you be forgiven? Is your best friend your kindest friend? Is it any way cruel to give a dog a name? Is there anything you feel a need to confess? You know it’s a “murder of crows” and a “wake of buzzards” but it’s a what of ravens, again? What is it about death that you’re afraid of? How does it make you feel to know that it’s an “unkindness of ravens”?
Here’s Geico’s 2014 Hump Day commercial in case you missed it…for the last Hump Day of 2014.
Notes: Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again
15 Phrases That Will Change Your Life In 2015, The Huffington Post, Lindsay Holmes:
“How we speak — to others and to ourselves — has a huge impact on our overall outlook. So isn’t it about time we started paying more attention to what we’re communicating? Below are 15 phrases that will transform the way you think, feel and act in the coming year. Using your words to change your life? Now that’s a resolution worth keeping.”
The entire list and the background explanation on each word/phrase: 15 Phrases That Will Change Your Life In 2015.
Photograph by Bruce Weber of River Phoenix from Live Journal
Thank you Carol @ Radiating Blossom
I hardly ever go to exhibitions and dislike the world of the vernissage; those crowds are the most repulsive of all. These days most art is too conceptual for me, with long descriptions pasted up on the walls of galleries. “Art” should reveal itself to audiences without written explanation. Most of what I see is garbage, sometimes literally so, like an installation with a few cardboard boxes thrown into a corner, an empty beer can and a dirty sleeping bag. This apparently represents the desperate fate of the homeless. I see an absence of dignity in contemporary art. There is too much emphasis on concept, not craft. Just as religion has been watered down by television evangelists, so has art.
I hope that in the future they invent a small golden light that follows you everywhere and when something is about to end, it shines brightly so you know it’s about to end.
And if you’re never going to see someone again, it’ll shine brightly and both of you can be polite and say, “It was nice to have you in my life while I did, good luck with everything that happens after now.”
And maybe if you’re never going to eat at the same restaurant again, it’ll shine and you can order everything off the menu you’ve never tried. Maybe, if someone’s about to buy your car, the light will shine and you can take it for one last spin. Maybe, if you’re with a group of friends who’ll never be together again, all your lights will shine at the same time and you’ll know, and then you can hold each other and whisper, “This was so good. Oh my God, this was so good.”
“It can never be satisfied, the mind, never.” Wallace Stevens wrote that, and in the long run he was right. The mind wants to live forever, or to learn a very good reason why not. The mind wants the world to return its love, or its awareness; the mind wants to know all the world, and all eternity, and God. The mind’s sidekick, however, will settle for two eggs over easy. The dear, stupid body is as easily satisfied as a spaniel. And, incredibly, the simple spaniel can lure the brawling mind to its dish. It is everlastingly funny that the proud, metaphysically ambitious, clamoring mind will hush if you give it an egg.
~ Annie Dillard, Total Eclipse. Teaching a Stone to Talk